Olivia Hetreed [pictured] writes letter on behalf of Writers’ Guild to newspaper for not citing screenwriters in their inaugural awards.
Olivia Hetreed, president of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), has criticised the inaugural Guardian Film Awards.
Hetreed has written a letter to the newspaper stating that the Writers’ Guild were “dismayed” at the lack of recognition for the screenwriters in the Best Line of Dialogue and Best Scene categories, citing instead the actors that performed them.
Andrea Gibb, co-chair film committee of WGGB, commented: “The problem we have is that this is part of an ongoing battle for screenwriters to have their work properly credited in the media.
“All too often, their work is accredited to directors or actors. If not directly, then by omission. Our concern is not just with the Guardian but with the general presentation by the media of what a screenwriter does in the filmmaking process.”
In the letter, Hetreed comments that the Writers’ Guild has been in touch with one of the Guardian’s reviewers who explained that writers’ names “didn’t seem like crucial information at the longlist or blog stage”.
“The reviewer also pointed out that neither has the Guardian credited the nominated marketing teams,” Hetreed continues. “This seems a somewhat bizarre justification: does she really mean to equate the marketing campaign and the film script?”
The letter concludes with Hetreed listing the writers involved in the nominated films and adds that she was disappointed that the “Guardian’s attempt to do something “new and innovative” should fall prey to such old fashioned, lazy or ignorant thinking”.
Read the full letter below.
The Writers’ Guild was delighted to read that the Guardian had decided to launch its own film awards. Particularly as they seem to be offered in a spirit of fun and celebration, aimed at engaging readers with film. However we are dismayed at the decision to leave out the names of the screenwriters who actually wrote the material in the Best Scene and Best Line Of Dialogue categories. It seems perverse to recognise and applaud screenwriting yet ignore writers.
We’ve been in touch with one of your reviewers, who explained that the writers’ names “just didn’t seem like crucial information at the longlist or blog stage.” The reviewer also pointed out that neither has the Guardian credited the nominated marketing teams. This seems a somewhat bizarre justification: does she really mean to equate the marketing campaign and the film script?
We appreciate that this is an attempt to engage your readers but fail to understand how adding the names of the writers would prevent this process. Guardian readers seem highly knowledgeable about film and deserve better information than being given an actor’s name alongside a line of dialogue. Film is a supremely collaborative medium and while it may not suit the word count of film reviewers to acknowledge this, there seems no reason for the Guardian Awards to compound their error.
It is hardly difficult to find the names of the short-listed writers. They are as follows:
BEST SCENE: Peter Baynam, Steve Coogan, Neil Gibbons, Rob Gibbons, Armando Ianucci; Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke; Carlos Reygadas; Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix; Terence Winter.
BEST LINE OF DIALOGUE: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; Bob Nelson; Eric Warren Singer, David O.Russell; John Ridley; Woody Allen; Bob Nelson; Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan; Paolo Sorrentino, Umberto Contarello; Christopher Ford; Spike Jonze.
The most disheartening thing about this omission and your reviewer’s response to our query, is that it is part of a much larger problem, whereby the media consistently and carelessly attribute the work of writers to directors and actors, thereby misinforming their audience. What a shame that the Guardian’s attempt to do something “new and innovative” should fall prey to such old fashioned, lazy or ignorant thinking.
Andrea Gibb & Line Langebek
Co-Chairs, WGGB Film Committee